TRENTON – Tackling one of the major contributors to New Jersey’s tax hell, the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee is examining state mandates this morning.
“(T)he driving force behind property taxes,” Chairman John McKeon said, “If done correctly, we can bring real savings to property taxpayers without spending a dime, simply by easing mandates that may no longer be serving their purpose or are simply too burdensome.”
To provide the first example of the day, Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo said the state is requiring his town to spend $300,000 for a truck wash. The Department of Environmental Protection is demanding his town build a vehicle undercarriage washing depot, and the mayor doesn’t think its necessary to spend taxpayer funds on.
“You can’t keep going to the people when someone decides they want a mandate,” Bencivengo said. “If the state’s going to mandate stuff, fund it. Give us some money.”
The committee will hear from the Departments of Community Affairs, Treasury, Environmental Protection, and Transportation, NJ League of Municipalities, NJ Health Officers Association, NJ Local Boards of Health Association, NJ Library Association, and the NJ Laborers Union.
Assemblyman Peter Barnes (D-Edison) said rather than start crossing items that were put in place for a reason off a list, for instance library funding requirements, he recommended the committee “use a surgeon’s scalpel” to address the mandates.